As previously discussed, the phenomenon of the television talk show has often been afforded a rather privileged position within current debates about the nature of a mediated public sphere. Offering a discursive space where ordinary people meet and interact with institutional representatives in a public forum, the talk show format has been lauded for its democratic potential. One of the key critical expositions of this point of view can be found in Carpignano et al. (1990), where the authors claim that the talk show attempts to present “an exercise in electronic democracy.” In this view, the talk show is distinctive in its promise of participation and apparent challenging of traditional hierarchies. It involves real people, talking about real life experiences in real time, which gives them a claim to authenticity that assists in the talk show’s championing of the ordinary citizen.